Get ready for the experience of a lifetime in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. Beneath towering trees alive with spongy fungi, golden slants of sunlight and tumbling waterfalls you can discover a world straight from the pages of a primeval mythology book. There is a strange and enchanting aura in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park as delicate flowers burst to life, primates scream from trees and the landscape glows with a myriad of green and blue hues.
The mountain ranges that stretch over this piece of pristine paradise have gained it the reputation as being the Galapagos Islands of Africa. It is called this because of the tropical abundance of flora and fauna that populate the crystalline mountains whose history spans back to ancient times. Rainbow colored butterflies dance in the air, lizards pitter patter across the mossy ground and tremendous exotic flowers drip their sweet scent into the atmosphere.
For travelers who have had their fill of big game spotting this environment allows you a parallel viewpoint of Africa’s diverse landscape, from lush thick tropical forests damp with rain to dry woodlands bathed in hazy sunlight, this is a side of Tanzania that simply can’t be overlooked. That’s not to say that big game isn’t on offer as this is the location that has it all, you can still spot tall and proud eland antelope, elephants, lions and wild dogs. The highlight of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park is catching a glimpse of the two main native primate species; the Sanje crested mangabey and the Iringa red colobus.
The long and winding ramble to the top of the world will take you through sweet scented trails bright with flowers and fluttering with butterflies. The hiking paths are by far the most popular and spectacular in the area and lead to the awe inspiring Sanje Waterfall. The 180m plunge of white water is simply breathtaking as it roars over the cliff. En route to the top of the waterfall visitors can make use of the cooling mists that come off the spray and even wade in the plunge pools. The cold water plunge pools become inundated with African violets that permeate the air with a rich scent.
Travelers have the chance to set up camp at the top of the waterfall and witness the sunrise sweep across the luscious vegetation, soaking the green trees in a multitude of colors. White-naped ravens sit in the branches at the top of the falls and lucky viewers can even spot crowned eagles soaring above in the morning mist.
Another popular hike that leads viewers to a staggering plateau is the Mwanihana Trail. Standing on the precipice you can gaze out across the dense and lush landscape and see the sugar plantations gleaming in the sun. Although this is not a trail for the faint hearted, it’s a tough two days climb but the walk is full of dazzling rewards in both flora and fauna. On this trail you can walk the paths cleared by elephants and buffalo herds, hear the sharp cries of tropical birds and watch the army ants march beneath your feet as they search for food.
The Udzungwa Mountains National Park is in the very heart of the mountains meaning that rain can fall at any time without warning. Some areas of the mountain range are constantly under a warm tropical drizzle as the cold mountain air rushes head on to meet the warm breeze of the Indian Ocean. Visitors should be prepared for rain even in the dry season.